Volodymyr Zelenskiy warns of possible ‘evil’ Russian attack ahead of Ukraine Independence Day | Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned Ukrainians to be vigilant this week as they prepare to celebrate their Independence Day, as fresh explosions in Crimea and a missile strike near a nuclear power plant injured 12 civilians.

In his late-night video address on Saturday, Zelensky said Ukrainians must not allow Moscow to “spread despair and fear” among them as they mark the 31st anniversary of independence from Soviet rule.

“We should all be aware that this week Russia might try to do something particularly ugly, particularly evil,” Zelensky said ahead of the anniversary on August 24, marking six months since Russia’s full-scale invasion. Ukraine started

Tensions are high in Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv, where a curfew will be extended through Wednesday, regional governor Ole Sinehub said on Saturday. The northeastern city comes under constant Russian shelling and is normally under curfew from 10pm to 6am, but extra precautions were required on Independence Day.

On Saturday, a Russian missile struck a residential area of ​​a southern Ukrainian city not far from a nuclear power plant, injuring 12 civilians, Russian and Ukrainian officials said.

That strike at the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant and new shelling near the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest such facility, fueled fresh fears of a wartime nuclear accident, Ukrainian officials said.

Zelensky also hinted in his speech A series of bombings in Crimea in recent daysUkrainian territory was annexed by Russia during the 2014 invasion.

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the attacks, but analysts have said at least some of them were made possible by new equipment used by Ukrainian forces.

“You can really feel Crimea in the air this year, the occupation there is temporary and Ukraine is coming back,” Zelensky said.

In the latest attack in Crimea, the Russian-appointed governor — not recognized by Ukraine or Western governments — said a drone struck a building. Near the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Saturday morning.

Video Shared on Twitter It appeared to show Russian air defenses trying to destroy the UAV and dark plumes of smoke rising from the city.

Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Rasvozhayev said in a Telegram that a drone crashed into the roof of the headquarters on Saturday and that there were no casualties, Russian news agency reported. Toss.

“I’m there [Black Sea] Now Naval Headquarters. A drone crashed into the roof here 25 minutes ago. “Unfortunately, it didn’t fall down…no casualties,” he wrote.

Later on Saturday, Crimea’s governor, Sergei Aksyonov, said in a telegram that local air defense forces shot down the drone above the Black Sea naval headquarters in Sevastopol, contradicting an earlier report.

“Air defense systems successfully hit all targets on the border with Crimea on Saturday morning. There were no casualties or material damage,” his boss, Sergey Aksyonov, said in a telegram.

Officials in Sevastopol on Saturday night announced that the city’s air-defense systems had been called into action again in the evening.

Ukrainian media reported explosions in nearby towns, including the resorts of Yevpatoriya, Olenivka and Zasyornoi.

After the strike near a power station in southern Ukraine, the governor of Mykolaiv region, Vitaly Kim, said in a telegram that four children were among the injured.

Private houses and a five-story apartment building were damaged in Voznesensk, 30 km from Ukraine’s second-largest plant.

The public prosecutor’s office in the Mykolaiv region updated the previous count and said 12 civilians were injured.

State-run Energoatom, which manages all four Ukrainian nuclear power plants, described the attack on Voznesensk as “another act of Russian nuclear terrorism”.

“The missile may have specifically targeted the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant, which the Russian military tried to recapture in early March,” Energoatom said in a statement.

Russia did not immediately respond to the accusation. Reuters could not verify the situation in Voznesensk. There were no reports of damage to the southern Ukraine plant.

Meanwhile, three men with Russian and Ukrainian passports were arrested for trying to infiltrate a military base and weapons factory in central Albania, the Albanian Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

Two soldiers who tried to stop them were injured, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

“Three citizens with Russian and Ukrainian passports tried to enter the factory,” the ministry said in a statement to the media.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said the three men were “suspected of espionage”.

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